Goraidh - A Gaelic Language Tutor

Suas Leis a' Ghàidhlig!

Courses in History | Goraidh - A Gaelic Language Tutor

Courses in History

When I started learning Scottish Gaelic in 1993, I didn't know much about the history of the people who speak Gaelic - The Gaels. So I began researching the history of Scotland and Ireland. It has become quite the passion of mine. These courses are the result of my research. They are always evolving as I'm always reading about new discoveries.

These courses are usually offered online through Seattle Central College Continuing Education, but I can offer them through private arrangement as well. Note: These classes are offered through English and don't require any prior knowledge, although they form a sequence and references in later courses might be made to material in previous courses.


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Standing Stones of Calanais, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

The landscapes of Scotland and Ireland contain a great number of stone monuments built in pre-history. Standing stones, stone circles, and henges are just a few of the monuments one can see. The colossal Newgrange, which is older than the Great Pyramid of Egypt, is an example of a chambered burial tomb. Tombs come in all shapes and sizes and we will explore the variety of them. In addition, the people from the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages left us examples of their dwellings, such as crannogs and brochs. Come explore the prehistoric and fascinating monuments of Scotland and Ireland.

Knowledge areas covered
  • Identify the types of ancient monuments that visitors to Britain and Ireland can expect to see.
  • Recognize the various types of dwellings from prehistory.
  • Explain the difference between a stone circle and a henge.
  • Develop an understanding of the context in which these monuments were built.
  • Describe the array of burials which provide us with so much of our knowledge of this time.

1 Session, 2.5 hours.


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The Great Torc from Snettisham, British Museum

Many people feel a connection to the Celts. This may be because of ancestry, the beauty of Celtic art, or a love of travel and history. Whatever your connection, we will explore the history of the Celtic peoples through time and via their artwork and mythology. What were their interactions with the Romans? What does their artwork tell us about their lifestyle? What were cauldrons used for? What information do we get from illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells or the Book of Deer? Why do we find that so many people claim Celtic ancestry and know the mythology of the Greeks, Romans, and perhaps the Vikings, but not that of the Gaels – the Celtic people of Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man? Can we still find Celts today? I hope you will join us on this exploration of one of Europe’s great cultures.

Knowledge areas covered
  • Acquire a basic understanding of the term ‘Celt’ and the history of the people for which that term is used
  • Develop an appreciation of Celtic art and artifacts
  • Exposure to the mythology surrounding the Celts, both that of the Gaels, and the Romans
  • Acquire an understanding of the relationship between the Celtic Revival of recent centuries and Celtic history.

2 Sessions, 5 hours


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The Bridgeness Slab, Antonine Wall, National Museum of Scotland

The inhabitants of Caledonia (Scotland) found themselves in the sights of several Roman emperors. Despite Rome’s victorious might, Rome never conquered the people whom they called the Caledonii, Picti, or Scotti, the last of whom gave Scotland its name. Let’s examine what Rome’s interest was in this land, their invasions of Caledonia, and the consequences of their efforts. We’ll explore what Roman remains we can see in Scotland today as well as those of the Picts.

Knowledge areas covered
  • Identify the types of Roman and Pictish remains that we can see and/or visit today.
  • Define the time period(s) Rome was interested in Caledonia.
  • Explain the linguistic and cultural landscape of the region at the time of Roman interest.
  • Develop an understanding of the Roman’s interest in the region.
  • Describe the Roman invasions of Caledonia and what caused Rome to leave.

1 Session, 2.5 hours


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Model Viking Longship on display at the Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton

Vikings first raided Scotland in the year 793, attacking the holy island of Iona. The next year, they raided a church on Lambay Island near today’s Dublin. In this class, we’ll explore the Scandinavian expansion and its ramifications on the peoples of Scotland and Ireland. We’ll examine archaeological remains for evidence of lifestyle and see that the impacts of Norse settlement on these lands would change them forever.

Knowledge areas covered
  • Identify the causes of the Scandinavian expansion between the 8th and 12th centuries.
  • Define what is meant by a Viking – Raider, Trader, Settler.
  • Explain the impacts of Viking raids and settlements on the people already living in these lands.
  • Develop an understanding of the lifestyle of the time.
  • Describe the types of archaeological sites and finds that tell us so much about this time.

2 Sessions, 5 hours


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Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

People around the world feel a connection to the lands of Scotland and Ireland. The Gaels, the speakers of the Gaelic language, have a long and rich history. In this course, we will explore this history and how it manifests itself in the art and mythology of the people. We will learn how it came to pass that descendants of Gaels can be found around the world and appreciate the rich and lively Gaelic culture of today.

Knowledge areas covered
  • History of Scotland and Ireland from the Roman period to today
  • The relationship between the peoples of Britain and Ireland (Gaels, Picts, and Britons) and Germanic invaders (Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Normans)
  • Contemporary issues related to language, culture, and identity

2 Sessions, 5 hours
Land acknowledgement

I acknowledge that we live on the unceded lands of the Coast Salish People, such as the
Duwamish, whose ancestors resided here since time immemorial and whose descendants are with us today, honoring and bringing to life their ancient heritage.